Six weeks after demonetisation, the arrivals of fruits and vegetables (F&V) in Vashi mandi (Mumbai), the country’s second-largest wholesale F&V market, has returned to ‘normal’ level after initial couple of weeks of slowdown.
According to Shivaji Pahinkar, Secretary, Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), Vashi, prior to demonetisation, about 70% of wholesale trade was carried out through electronic mode or through bank transfer as farmers as well as agents and farmers across from far off states bring in their produce to this sprawling market spread across 70 acre and located on Mumbai outskirt.
“As most of the transactions were higher in value and farmers bring in their produce from states as far as Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh or Tamil Nadu, the payments are mostly made through bank transfers or through credit or debit cards swiping,” Pahinkar told FE.
He added that till a fortnight after the demonetisation decision was announced in November 8, the daily arrivals of F&V in the mandi was lower by around 30%. However, the arrivals of F&V in the last couple of weeks had been restored to normal level of 6,000 tonnes daily.
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Besides, many of the traders provide credit facility to farmers and mostly the payments are made directly to bank accounts of farmers within 15 days of delivery of the consignment. The wholesale market has an estimated annual turnover of R10,000 crore, out of which large share of trade is done through electronic mode.
A trader from Vashi said that at present only about 10% of the daily trade is carried out using cash, especially those small farmers in and around Maharashtra, who bring in their produce to sell in Vashi wholesale mandi. Traders who buy apples from Kashmir or Himachal Pradesh, coconut from Kerala and banana from Tamil Nadu do not make payment in cash. “All such payments are made either through RTGS or any other electronic mode of payment,” a trader said.
Recently, around 300 traders at the onion-potato market of APMC, Vashi have applied for swipe machines from banks to carry out daily transactions following demonetisation. Pahinkar of APMC, Vashi, however, said that the wholesale prices of F&V have declined in last couple of weeks which is mostly attributed to bumper output because of normal monsoon. Maharashtra government has already informed all APMCs in the state to provide reports on impact of demonetisation on their trade.
Meanwhile, in Delhi’s Azadpur mandi, the country’s largest wholesale market (with daily F&V sales of more than 13,000 tonnes), the daily arrivals are still down by around 10% for the normal level at this point of the year.
According to Raj Kumar Bhatia, general secretary, chamber of the Azadpur Fruit and Vegetable Traders Association, the arrivals have declined because farmers are not getting reasonable prices for their produce. “We expect the normalcy in the trading to be restored by middle of next month,” Bhatia said.